The Roaring 17’s brings together a selection of Wentworth’s recent paintings that plumb the violent undercurrents of contemporary American society. With loaded brush and saturated palette, the artist sculpts the monstrous character he perceives beneath the surface of everyday life. A number of the canvases in the show are half length portraits of the artist’s friends and associates, people he knows well and with whom he feels comfortable committing his impressions to the painted medium. On one level, these images are replacements, surrogate identities that allow the artist to retain a part of the sitters’ spirit during their absences. The artist’s ambivalent feelings of friendship, jealousy, possessiveness, and love, reside uneasily between the brushstrokes. On another level, each one of the paintings is a projection of the artist himself, a creative attempt by the artist to escape the tyranny of subjectivity by defining in paint the turbulent and unstable landscape of emotions experienced daily.
Wentworth is an important American painter and sculptor who participated in the 2015 Venice Biennale in Venice, Italy. His artwork is featured in many major American museum collections, including the Oakland Museum of California and the Crocker Art Museum in Sacramento. He is currently working on a major indoor and outdoor exhibition at Teatro La Fenice, Venice’s Opera House, slated for installation in 2017